Today UK bloggers were invited to take part in a sort of 21st century exercise in mass observation. Inevitably, this meant that today nothing exciting happened, and that the impact of history on my life was restricted, really, to saying the Office in a church that has stood for more than 800 years. Needless to say, that particular link escaped me till after I'd posted. Ah well, they can always delete me.
For the record, this was the outline I submitted...and very dull reading it makes.
Cycled up to Morning Prayer, where I met M (Training Incumbent) & R, vicar of neighbouring parish with whom we’re to work more closely as part of the current Mission Action Plan in the diocese.
R very good at making sure that I don’t feel sidelined as “just the curate” – not that M would ever sideline anyone, but R clearly has strong feelings on the subject and his own curacy experience is not long behind him…Good to say the Office together & then talk a bit about where the church in Cheltenham might be going. We all know there are still too many buildings, and there will be a need to lose a few more clergy in the years ahead. Meanwhile, there’s so much that’s good & creative & God filled going on, so it wasn’t a depressing conversation in the least.
Home to do emails, blog, and take a few parish phonecalls…Listened for a good half hour to the daughter of lady I visit, who’s been critically ill for 2 weeks. Transferred from Intensive Care to High Dependency yesterday, - definite progress, - but I feel terribly helpless & ineffectual being unable to visit till this stupid cold has departed. Otherwise I might as well arrive with the Last Rites, - not the desired effect!
I’m currently trying to sort things for my imminent trip to India; going as part of diocesan link with diocese of Karnataka Central in the Church of S India. Not at all sure what to expect, except that I’ll be living with assorted clergy families for the month, with the brief to learn & experience as much as possible of what it means to be Church in such a very different context. I’m wobbly about abandoning the offspring, so wrote some “just in case” letters this morning too, then went on with sorting out the contents of the “Little Fishes Song Book” which we need for Toddler Church.
Sandwich lunch and a brief dog walk ("Call that a walk?", ask the dogs in indignant unison) before getting ready for JAFFA KIDS after-school club in the Primary School. 15 children today, despite football. Looking at some Old Testament stories. Learn a rap about Noah (which they want to perform at Assembly-) and then make rainbow spinners and play some silly colour-themed games. It’s half term next week, so I won’t now see them till after India, & they’re very sweet,interested in where I’ll be staying and what I’ll be doing. Wish I knew!
Staff meeting with M, looking at diary issues & discussing how to avoid the sort of mad (potentially destructive) Sunday that I’ve experienced recently. Not sure, to be honest, that he’s any more adept at this than I am, but we agreed that it wasn’t a good state of affairs.
Evening Prayer for the eve of St Luke. Good opportunity to reflect on the way we use and abuse Scripture, and to pray for the health of the Church…
Eve dominated by efforts to choose & purchase mp3 player for India. In the end, found one which uses ordinary batteries, so I won’t be dependent on local electricity supply. Quite expensive as a present to myself, but I NEED music while I’m away. Asked my friends to suggest something to take with me so I’ll feel that they’re closer.
Watched Holby. Heartbreaking story-line about woman with motor neurone disease who has opted to travel to Switzerland for assisted suicide. Sympathy very much with her as she longs for a measure of the control that her illness would deprive her of…but also the husband and children who will feel that she has chosen to leave them before her time. So glad I’m not in a situation where I’m called to minister to anyone in that place. Too many feelings about the place! Long for the day when care’s so good that even ifor such a degenerative condition, there remains the possibility that life could be worth living till the end. The God I believe in is one who transforms even the most intractably hopeless situation.
I can't for the life of me think what the archivists will make of that lot. But at least those of you who are wondering about why I'm going to India now have some sort of answer,- the best I can manage myself.
My best clue came in an email today "travel safely and grab all you can from the experience ... come back
refreshed ... renewed ... and with a clearer idea of God's plan for you for
the next chapter of your journey with him ... "
I'll go with that, I think!